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2015 FELLOWSHIP Participants 

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Meet ISPA's 2015 Regional (Latin America) Fellowship Program participant Thiago Cury! 

Thiago Cury

Thiago Cury



Thiago Cury is at home in a multitude of sectors, from live and education to recorded and publishing. The Brazilian arts manager, musical producer and studied composer (University of São Paulo) has been developing sound creations for cinema, theater, opera, dance, performance and art exhibitions and his work has been performed at several Brazilian contemporary music festivals. In 2006 he founded ÁguaForte, a record label and publishing company focused on new music, where he develops special projects, producing concerts, recording CDs and LPs, and publishing scores. In 2010 he was appointed as director of the Music Center of Funarte, the Brazilian national foundation for the arts.

Since 2013, he has been working as a creator and curator of the Strange Music Festival in São Paulo. The festival aims to build links with related reference alt-classical and exploratory music scenes and events in Brazil and around the globe.

Strange Music Festival in São Paulo

Thiago, What are the three adjectives that describe you? 
Curious, restless, and thoughtful


What’s your favorite city in the world?
Thiago: Hard to list just one city, It would be half New York and half London.

Can you tell me the name of the life-changing performance that you either watched or participated in?

One life changing experience was attending Louise Bourgeois' artists Salon in New York in 1999; the artist would hold gatherings called “Sunday, bloody Sundays” at her home in Chelsea. These salons would be filled with young artists and students whose work would be critiqued by Bourgeois. Bourgeois ruthlessness in critique and her dry sense of humor lead to the naming of these meetings.

I had a friend journalist who had invited me to accompany him on the Salon because he was writing an article about her work in the field of art education (and he kenw I love her work). He had contacted her and I was allowed to go as a curious composer/musician.

She was very friendly and warm with all the people that were waiting to her at the entrance of her house and had taken us to a small and dark room, full of books pilled all over, with lots of papers with notes attached on the wall, and other curious objects hanging around.

First of all, she started with the younger artists that were there, asking then to show and talk about some of their works they had brought. She was very hard on the two first ones who wasn’t able to articulate properlly a reasoning, and talk about the linguistic basis and the path the works were based on, but it was very courious the way she had on pointing the stilystic and esthetic fragilities, on the same way very dry and strong but with a little voice, with a gentle tone, looking like an old grandmother.

After the last one (a sculptor) everybody was just preparing to leave when she told my friend journalist that now the Brazilian composer should be on the table for an evaluation (she had one little desk of her, in the middle of the room, that the people would sit facing her for the talk). I was really surprised and kind of curious and immediately had sat on the desk for the “Sabbath”. She asked me about my music studies, experiences and background, and I’ve told her about my jazz and popular Brazilian music background, melted with the classical composer graduation (I’ve just finished the music/composition graduation), with a taste for improvising and related matters, with the piano as my main instrument.

After all my talk she told me that I had to prove me “credentials” I had to show some of my work, which I told her that would have to have a piano so that I can play (I knew she haven’t had a piano there) but she confronted me that as a composer I would have to sing some choir lines - she quickly pulled down some sheet music for a music reading at first glance. I was very nervous but had faced the challenge with a good result in singing those lines. After that she said nothing and just asked me that I should do a improvisational composition around some popular song with the things we have at the room, indeed she even asked her assistant to bring a Glockenspiel she had at the house that me as a composer and pianist should know how to play it. At the end I’d collected some of the weird objects she had on that little room, like a horn, buzzer, bells, wood sticks, coins, papers and had done a free improvisation on “My funny valentine” (Rodger and Hart) tune that has pleased her a lot, as she had made some interesting analysis of the way I based the choice of timbres and the melting and variations on the original lyrics and harmonics.

At the end she offered me a gift, one single (CD) she had recorded, singing a hip hop tune with a strange approach to lyrics and rhythm; I keep this gift till today at my desk as a loving memory from a great experience with a restless, demanding and visionary artist.   

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